UNITED KINGDOM: New Scheme for Non-EEA Researchers

July 9, 2018

Effective 6th  July 2018, the UK Home Office has introduced the new “UKRI Science, Research and Academia” scheme, which allows non-EEA researchers, scientists and academics to come to the UK for up to two years.

How does it work?

The new scheme has been added to the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) (GAE) visa route.

It will be operated by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which, along with twelve approved research organisations, such as the Natural History Museum, is now able to directly sponsor highly skilled individuals, such as specialist technicians, to work and train in the UK.

The sponsor organisations will be monitored by UKRI as the scheme owner and will also require individual Tier 5 sponsor licences.


The Tier 5 GAE is the principal visa route by which non-EEA nationals who wish to undertake training and work experience are able to come to the UK. The route allows individuals entering the UK through this scheme to stay for up to two years.

UKRI brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will monitor the activity of the scheme on a regular basis with UKRI, to provide assurance that it is meeting the criteria for a Tier 5 scheme.

Other recent reforms to the immigration system include a new Start-up visa route to replace the Tier1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route, and the removal of doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 cap.

Our Advice

Employers who may be able to benefit from the new rules are encouraged to consult their Newland Chase immigration specialist for a case-specific assessment.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please email us at [email protected].